According to the dictionaries, in medieval times a Bard was a tribal singer, poet or one who recites epic or heroic poems, but having just spent around 18 months studying the Bardic level of the Order of the Bards, Ovates and Druids I can safely say that I am still none of those.
I can’t sing, my poetry is naive to say the least and I have a memory like a sieve so reciting anything yet alone an epic or heroic poem is completely out of the question.
So what did becoming a Bard do for me?
Without giving any secrets away, for the OBOD is a basically a mystery school where everything is unfolded as you reach it, rather than like a lot of courses and training, presented upfront, I can safely say that for me the Bardic training gave me a different outlook on many aspects of my life, it helped to shift and heal more than a few things for me, connected me on a much deeper level with the elements as well as with myself, but above all it taught me patience.
In the modern world we are used to having everything at our fingertips, to being able to make things happen, get information instantly and so on and so forth and it did me good to work in a way where this doesn’t happen. There is something really exciting about having to wait and see what comes next, anticipating the arrival of the next set of materials, not knowing what is coming, what is ahead. There is also something incredibly freeing about knowing that there are no right or wrong answers to anything, no right or wrong way of doing anything, there is just the way it happens for you. There is also freedom in being given the space to allow everything to unfold at the right pace and in its own time.
I talk often about how our lives turn in cycles, about how we have to go through life, death and rebirth continuously in all we do but for 18 months I lived this over and over. Many times I had no choice but to be still and wait, to focus only on what was happening, on the journey and not the outcome, waiting to see how and when I would come out the other side. This then spilt over into other areas of my life.
When we are working on ourselves not everything comes instantly in fact far from it. I know this from working as a healer and trainer and I have infinite patience with clients and students but not so with myself yet through training as a Bard I learnt to treat myself more gently, I learnt to allow myself the time to complete something and enjoy the completion of it rather than looking at where it might lead me.
During the training I was working on a piece of art work, a piece where I was finding the process frustratingly slow, then something clicked and I found the work became like a meditation, it was calming and restful. I found myself enjoying the process of making the art, each tiny piece at a time became enough in itself. Instead of looking at how much I still had to do I found I was enjoying and getting satisfaction from working for hours on a very small area of the picture. This is not like me or at least not like the who I was before I began training as a Bard.
And maybe that is partly what a Bard is, not specifically a singer, a poet or a reciter of epic tales, but someone who gives their full attention to whatever they are doing, who lives in the moment, who lets the creative process unfold rather than worrying about the outcome, who allows it all to happen without getting in the way, who knows when to stop and wait and when to move on, someone who enjoys the journey rather than the destination.